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At An Impasse: Looking At High-End Kitchen Knives

tx smoker

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Sad state of affairs. I still have my Christmas bonus from work, in cash, sitting in a cigar box on the shelf in my closet and can't decide what to do with it. I've been considering getting a high end set of kitchen knives for quite a while and made mention of this to Tracy. Well, her crafting stuff has taken off in a huge way in a totally different direction. She has dropped a considerable sum of $$ the past couple weeks getting herself set up. Last night over dinner (which was incredible and very creative but don't know if I should post it) she said it's only fair that I get something nice to balance out the money she has spent. She told me to order whatever set of knives I want. I've read stuff about the 4-star Zwilling (SP??) stuff being really good. They are German made but I've also seen some nice stuff that is Japanese made. At least the price tag indicates that it's nice stuff :emoji_laughing: I currently have two sets of professional grade Chicago Cutlery that I've been somewhat happy with. One set Tracy bought me two years ago for Christmas. The other set I've had for about 30 years. My only issue is that they don't hold an edge for very long and I seem to sharpen them more often than I feel I should. Here is my biggest dilemma: I'm having a hard time justifying the expense, regardless of Tracy telling me to buy them, so I have a couple of Q's for y'all. If you had an unlimited budget to buy a set of knives, what would you buy? Second, what is it about the recommendation that sets it apart from other knives? Lastly, and this is for folks who have already made the purchase: can you justify the expense in your mind? I'm not looking for block sets that have a bunch of steak knives to make the item count look impressive. We already have more steak knives than we will ever have people here eating steak. I'm looking for a 4 to 6 knife set (quantity not set in stone) that will do everything I need done...and y'all know I tend to do a lot of stuff :emoji_wink: This may seem like a silly thread but you all are the only ones I trust for accurate info as I'm in WAY over my head on this one. I'd just hate to drop$500 to $1000 on knives that are untested and find them lacking what I'm looking for. I've spent a LOT of time reading about these and can't really see a differentiation between one maker and the next so thought I'd toss this out there and ask the folks who are truly in the know. Many thanks to any and all that take the time to provide info.

At a total loss,
Robert
 

sandyut

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Wusthof also has a very good selection of high quality knives.
that what i have been using the last 15 years. they have different lines...stear clea of the low end one they have crappy reviews . cant recall what they call them -Gourmet I think...

I have the Classic line - very happy with them. they may have a line above that...but I cant look ;)
 

Chickenwings

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REALLY early on I wanted GOOD knives. So I got some. I bought Henckels 'budget' knives, the ones of German pattern but made in Brazil but make no mistake, these are good knives. I used them for nearly 30 years!

So, now I'm a German knife guy. I've looked at Japanese knives but for me, I like the weight and profile of german knives. Japanese knives are less robust with a finer edge that you should be a bit more cautious with, German knives can take a little more chopping type punishment. I've shopped for Japanese knives and I like them a lot. I might add a mid size chef profile Gyuto type but I'm still a German knife guy.

Having had those Henckels for so long I was surprised that by a set of circumstances I ended up with a set of Wusthof knives and I like them a LOT. Heft and balance is similar to the Henckles but on my most used knife, the chef's knife, the blade is a bit taller making guiding the blade better - for me.

Check out a starter set like this:


Shop around, I think you may find a better price but the link illustrates what I am talking about. To that set I think you need to add a bread knife and a big slicer but it'll really do all you want. There's also a movement now on buying disposable paring knives but that's another topic for another post.

Hope this helps!
 

xray

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Robert,

I won't be much help to you but I would like to tag along for the ride. I've been in the market for a better knife set for awhile. My black Friday Cuisinart knife block from over 10 years ago is starting to let me down. They do not hold and edge and the tang is starting to crack through the plastic handles, so some have them have a wobble when using for cutting.

So I'm interested in seeing where this thread goes.

I've thought about getting Wusthof knives. Since you mentioned Japanese knives, have you looked into Shun knives? The Japanese style knives supposingly hold a finer edge due to the harder composition of the steel but they are more prone to chipping.

Stacy actually bought me a cheap zwilling ja henckles knife set for Christmas. But I politely asked to return them because all the knives in the block were serrated...even the chef's knife. I couldn't sharpen them so it's no use.
 

Winterrider

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These have been very good knives for us. Have had for 4yrs now. Only have needs to use the steel on these so far. No sharpening. There is 2 other cheaper models other than the Professional "S".
20200122_181532.jpg
 

Polka

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I have a set of Henkels. Buy what you can afford, but I think solid handle rather than rivets. R
 

jcam222

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These have been very good knives for us. Have had for 4yrs now. Only have needs to use the steel on these so far. No sharpening. There is 2 other cheaper models other than the Professional "S".
View attachment 429547
I have a few of the Professional line of these knives and they are very nice! I love my rocking chef knife for chopping veggies. I have a Miyabi knife that is an Asian style knife that is beyond ridiculously sharp. I have really pieced my collection together based on super sales on quality knives.
 

pc farmer

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Gezz. I use my victorinox butchering knives for all prep and slicing meat. Now I feel I need better.
 

clifish

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There is no way I would spend $500 to $1K on knives if it was not my career......then again I have a lift in the garage with a 74 TR6 on top and a 81 Corvette
lift.JPG
wrangler tj 4.JPG
under it and a Jeep Wrangler next to it. So if you can afford it and you want it go get it!
 

Fueling Around

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I'm trying to remember which TV chef recommended starting with 3 knives.
A chef knife, a paring knife, and a serrated long knife.

I got a Wustof Classic Santoku 5" for my birthday last year. I love it. My only regret is that I should have gotten the 7".
 

mtnlakeman

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I have Wusthof Classic. Spent $1,400 on a 20 block set. First 5 years loved them. Easy to sharpen to razors edge. I can cut lox that's too thin. Knowing the expense gave us pride that this was a good thing in our kitchen.. The reason we bought these was because we wanted plastic handles specific to being dishwasher proof. Today over half have cracked handles. For sure our fault for throwing them in the dishwasher, but for $1,400 I want the same plastic that's in a $59 dishwasher capable set and the steel that's in these. Sorry I don't have a recommendation, but am quite disappointed in them. My parents had Cutco that survived the dishwasher, prying open paint cans, thought I was going to be a knife thrower etc. They were harder steel than the Wusthof so more difficult to sharpen, but also harder to dull..
 

S-met

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I have a strong opinion against knife sets. Instead, buy a quality knife for your purpose and don'tget sucked into "brands." I believe a must have is a utility/general purpose like a chef or santoku and a pairing knife. For your chef/utility knife, there is no "right" knife. Choose one that is well balanced in your hand. You might need 2. My wife and I use different knives. And they all may be different brands

Next get what you will need as it arises. I have a budget cleaver and 12 slicer, given their purpose and how often I use them, a high end version didn't make sense. Then I added a high quality bread knife and a flexible fillet knife.

Again, don't get sucked into brands. And don't buy a knife that you haven't held. Make sure you like the "feel." You have to use it, not me or anyone else, get the right ones for you.
 

chef jimmyj

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These have been very good knives for us. Have had for 4yrs now. Only have needs to use the steel on these so far. No sharpening. There is 2 other cheaper models other than the Professional "S".
View attachment 429547
This is a very nice set of Knives. Just a word of Caution. I am referring to this Style of Knife, several brand of Forged Knives are like this, and not a criticism of this brand alone...

Look at the Thick Bolster, between the handle and blade. There is only a Millimeter or so of Knife Edged before further sharpening will cause the bottom of the Bolster to be Lower than the Blade Edge! The result, you can Slice with it but you will not be able to Chop anything, because the Bolster will hit the Board before the Blade Edge.
Fortunately, sharpening and edge removal is infrequent but but I prefer knives without the thick Bolster to get in the way.

pc farmer pc farmer I have worked with A LOT of Pro Chef's and YES at some point in their careers, all bought one or more High end Henckels or Wustof knives. Years later the Wustof sits in their tool box and the Victorinox Knives are on the board doing the Heavy Lifting!...
 

sawhorseray

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I've been using a Wusthof Classic Santoku for a couple of years now, 8". For Xmas I received a couple more Wusthof Classics, Chef and Boning blades, and a couple from the Gourmet line. I haven't even taken them out of the box, need to find a block that'll fit them. Those magnetic blade holders that screw onto the wall are just accidents waiting to happen, that's a no go. Whatever you decide to get Robert, take a moment to think about where you'll store them.
DSCN1490.JPG


The Santoku has nice balance and holds an edge well, it and a wood handled boning blade I've had for over thirty years do most of the kitchen work. Until I can find a block for the others they are pretty much useless to me, it's not like you can just throw a bunch of big razors into a drawer and go fishing around for them when you need one. Just sayin'. RAY
 

sandyut

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The reason we bought these was because we wanted plastic handles specific to being dishwasher proof. Today over half have cracked handles.
I think they say dishwasher safe, but not recommended. we washed one of the small knives a zillion times and it cracked. I would email them and ask for a warranty replacement or discount at least on a replacement/repair. I had a piar of their scissors show a rust spot and they shipped me a new set no questions no change.
 

Smokin' in AZ

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Robert,

I too wanted a really good knife set after making due with handme downs for years and I went the Henkels 5 star route a year ago and have not looked back since.

Here is wht I got from BBB, and it is currently on sale.


These are what come with it:
IMG_20200123_084924683.jpg


Which is plenty, but there were 3 open spaces that kept screaming at me to fill soooo:
IMG_20200123_085011807.jpg


I have had them over a year and have only used the sharpener that comes with it (in the block) to touch them up, but they are due for a good sharpen now. When I got them they were absolutely razor sharp...actually a bit scary sharp.

I am quite happy with them and I think all in (as I got the set on sale, and 2 of the 3 add on knives) for less than $350

John
 

tx smoker

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Well thank you everybody for all the great input. Sadly though I'm no closer to making a decision than I was yesterday when I posted this :emoji_laughing: I'd been looking at a couple of sets that got dinged here either due to quality issues or design flaws. The only brand that didn't get any negative feedback is the Victorinox. I'm just hitting a mental road block looking through Amazon. May just have to take a day or two for the cob webs to clear and start over.

On a different note, those of you with dishwasher issues, don't feel bad. I have a 30 year old set of Chicago Cutlery with Rosewood handles and a 2 year old set with plastic handles. Neither have ever seen the inside of a dishwasher. They have always been hand washed, dried, and put away immediately when I was finished. The Rosewood handles would get a coat of vegetable oil applied to them a couple times a year to keep them looking good and to date, they still look as good as the day I bought them. The handles on 2 year old set are all cracked on the knives I use, and again it isn't from the dishwasher. This is kind of a bummer in that I considered Chicago Cutlery to be good stuff, but apparently I was mistaken. Handles cracked, won't hold an edge, and the blades are noticeably worn already from constant need to be sharpened. Oh well...I'll figure something out soon or just stick with what I have until it's no longer usable. Nah....I'm sure I'll find something pretty soon.

Thanks again everybody!!
Robert
 

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